4:30 p.m. EDT: More evidence that the French electorate lacked enthusiasm for their presidential candidates:
3:30 p.m. EDT: Among the themes the media are focused on:
- Today’s vote was a lukewarm endorsement of Macron
- Macron’s immediate challenge is to find coalition partners; En Marche! is not a party and the country’s parliamentary elections are next month
- Lepen wants to remain an integral part of the National Front, but it’s not certain her party wants her
- Nearly 4-million voters opted for neither candidate
- France rejected the idea of slamming the door on Europe, but what did today’s election make clear what it did want?
2:24 p.m. EDT: Lepen has promised to remain in politics, but an interesting question will soon be answered in France: Do members of the National Front want her? Her efforts in the two-week period between the first and second round of the French presidential election brought dishonor to herself and to her party.
Would the separation of Lepen from the National Front mean the party’s core members want to retain its hard right, anti-immigration, anti-European program? Or would it mean that the membership knows that for the National Front to make any real move that Lepen must be jettisoned?
2:18 p.m. EDT: Lepen told supporters that she will not step away from politics and will lead her party as the country’s parliamentary elections loom in just a few weeks.
Victory for the young, pro-EU centrist will be greeted with relief in key European capitals. Mr Macron, who served as economy minister under president François Hollande from 2014- 2016, positioned himself as an economic and social liberal, as an advocate of free trade and European integration.
2:12 p.m. EDT: Marine Lepen has conceded.
2:10 p.m. EDT: This tweet from a Buzzfeed reporter:
2:07 p.m. EDT: The projections indicate Macron will win about 65% of the vote with Lepen gaining the other 35%.
ORIGINAL POST: France 24, among other news agencies, is reporting that Emmanuel Macron will be the next president of France. He is expected to comfortably defeat Marine Lepen.
Macron is 39, which would make him the youngest-ever French president. He also caps an amazing roughly 12-month run in which he went from an unknown candidate who had started his own movement to the Elysee Palace.